National Post (Latest Edition)

Facebook losing its cool as teens flock elsewhere

- Sarah Frier

Three years ago, Facebook was the dominant social media site among U.S. teens, visited by 71 per cent of people in that magic, trendsetti­ng demographi­c. Not anymore.

Now, only 51 per cent of kids between 13 and 17 use Facebook, according to Pew Research Center. The world’s largest social network has finally been eclipsed in popularity by YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram.

“The social media environmen­t today revolves less around a single platform than it did three years ago,” the researcher­s wrote in a survey published Thursday.

Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube is the most popular, used by 85 per cent of teens, according to Pew.

The U.S. is by far Facebook’s most lucrative advertisin­g market, where it makes a staggering $23.59 in quarterly revenue per user. But that doesn’t mean growth can continue forever. The company said in its most recent earnings call that it’s effectivel­y saturated the market in America and Canada, counting 185 million users in those two countries combined.

The new study demonstrat­es how difficult it may be to keep up that level of dominance, and how important the 2012 Instagram acquisitio­n has been for Facebook’s future.

Instagram is slightly more popular than Snapchat overall, Pew said, with 72 per cent of respondent­s saying they use the photo-sharing app compared with Snapchat’s 69 per cent. But Snap Inc. is holding its own, despite Instagram’s frequent parroting of its features. About one-third of the survey’s respondent­s said they visit Snapchat and YouTube most often, while 15 per cent said Instagram is their more frequent destinatio­n.

Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of teens say Facebook is their most-used platform.

Pew noted that the biggest change since its last teen survey, besides Facebook’s fall from dominance, was just how ubiquitous smartphone­s have become among young people. Ninety-five per cent of teens own a smartphone or have access to one, and 45 per cent say they are online “on a near-constant basis.”

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